"Oh man, those 1970s directors...they got it". The above is a line of dialogue you could expect to hear in any first year film studies class, but, you know what? There's a lot of truth to the statement. The film output of the 1970s is of such a consistently high quality that it's hard to argue that it wasn't the best decade for the film industry. It certainly was for American film. The inmates were running the asylum after the failure of the studio system and, while they would eventually ruin it for themselves, for a time the director, nay artist, was king. The 1970s was a decade of experimentation. People were experimenting with sex and drugs, and they were also experimenting with film. It was a time of social change and the films of the era reflect that change. There is a sense when watching a lot of films from the era that was dubbed 'The New Hollywood' (roughly 1967-1980) that they really thought that anything was possible. Inspired by European art and independent cinema, seventies films had a very different aesthetic that made them different from anything that had come before them. They were gritty, narratively complex, violent and, at times, uncomfortable and uncompromising. When you look at the quality of films, no decade can touch the 1970s. It really was the best decade for film. Honourable Mentions: Dog Day Afternoon, Five Easy Pieces, The Sting, Mean Streets, Chinatown.
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